Bank of America credit cards have great rewards—which one is right for you?
What you need to know, from cash back to travel perks
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Bank of America credit cards tend to fly under the radar, with rewards programs and welcome bonuses that are a smidgen less flashy compared to cards from some other issuers. But with dozens of options, they're decent, nonetheless, and many Bank of America cards also come with no annual fee as well as interest-free balance transfers and purchases for a certain time frame.
Depending on the card, eligible cardholders can even boost the value of their cash back and points through the Preferred Rewards or Preferred Rewards for Business programs. Here's a look at some of Bank of America's credit cards that Reviewed has previously evaluated and how the preferred programs work.
Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program
When it comes to Bank of America's personal credit cards, one of the best perks is the Preferred Rewards program that can boost the value of your rewards by 25%, 50%, or 75%. The more assets you keep in eligible Bank of America checking accounts and Merrill investment accounts, the more benefits you get:
- Gold tier requires at least $20,000 in total assets and gets you a 25% boost on rewards.
- Platinum tier requires at least $50,000 in total assets and provides a 50% bump in rewards.
- Platinum Honors tier requires at least $100,000 in total assets and increases your rewards by 75%.
For example, if you have the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card and qualify for the Platinum Honors tier, you could earn 5.25% cash back on your category of choice, 3.5% back on grocery purchases and 1.75% back on all other spending. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card, Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students, and MLB™ Cash Rewards Mastercard® from Bank of America are also part of the Preferred Rewards program.
For cardholders who love a hands-on approach to rewards, this credit card allows you to refresh the bonus category from a set list as often as every month. You earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on all other purchases. But, note that the 3% and 2% rates apply to the first $2,500 spent in those categories each quarter, and then you’ll earn 1% for the rest of the quarter.
Cardholders also get an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening and a 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles (afterward, a variable rate applies). There's no annual fee, and you earn a $200 welcome bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening.
This card rewards business owners for making everyday business expenses and comes with no annual fee—which makes for a nice ROI on rewards. You earn 3% cash back on your category of choice, 2% cash back on dining, and 1% back on all other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash-back rates apply to the first $50,000 in purchases each year, then 1% for the rest of the year.
Cardholders can also earn a $300 welcome bonus and enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first nine billing cycles (then, a variable rate kicks in). Maxing out the bonus categories can net you as much as $1,500. But because there's a limit on the bonus cash back you can earn, it's not a good fit if you plan to spend a lot more than the cap.
If you love to travel and your purchases don't typically fall into one or two bonus categories, this card is a solid way to rack up rewards. You get 3 points per dollar spent on purchases through the Travel Center portal and 1.5 points per dollar spent everywhere else.
Redemption options are flexible, too. You can trade points for cash into your bank account, gift cards, or a statement credit to pay for travel purchases such as flights and hotels. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, and you can earn a 25,000-point welcome bonus after spending at least $1,000 within 90 days of account opening. You also get a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles (then, a variable rate applies).
This card is nearly identical to the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card, but only students can apply. You earn 3 points per dollar spent in the Travel Center portal and an unlimited 1.5 points on all other purchases. Redemption options are the same across both cards.
Cash-strapped college students who love to travel will like the 25,000-point welcome bonus, which is worth $250 in statement credits toward travel purchases. You'll have to spend at least $1,000 within 90 days to earn the welcome bonus, so plan major expenses—like tuition and textbooks—around the spending requirement. And if this is your first go at building credit, Bank of America makes it a little easier by nixing interest on purchases for a full year.
Though you won't find an enticing welcome bonus or rewards program with this card, it does offer a cheap way to refinance your debt or pay down large purchases over time. Cardholders get a 0% intro APR and no fees on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. Plus, the 0% intro APR extends to purchases for 15 billing cycles (then, a variable rate kicks in).
There's no annual fee and no penalty APR for late payments, which can majorly help you save on costs. Plus, the lack of a rewards program could even help you feel less tempted to spend while you pay down debt. However, after the initial 60 days, balance transfers incur a fee of 3% of the transfer amount (minimum $10), which deflects some of your savings.
Attention sports fans: While this credit card is affiliated with Major League Baseball, it isn't exactly a home run for baseball buffs. The only sports-relevant perk is that cardholders can choose a credit card design with their favorite MLB team's logo. Otherwise, this card is similar to the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card—customizable categories, welcome bonus, interest-free promo and all.
However, there's at least one difference: If you qualify for a credit line of at least $5,000, you can access World Mastercard benefits, which include perks such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance and an extended warranty on purchases. Generally, people with a strong credit history tend to qualify for higher credit limits.
Bottom line: If you're a Bank of America client and qualify for the Preferred Rewards program, it's easy to get a rewards boost with some of these card options. But, as with any rewards credit card, consider whether you typically spend enough in the bonus categories before making one your go-to card.
Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.